So how did you pull off that transformation from MC to R&B songwriter working with the superstar likes of Usher, Beyonce, and Mary J. Blige?
The whole reason I started writing R&B songs is because Usher came to me and said, “You put melody into your rhymes...you might as well write an R&B song.” And this is before a lot of rappers were doing that. That’s how I wrote “Throwback,” which was the first song I wrote for Usher’s Confessions. It was about learning how to write and produce records.
There’s a track on Discrete Luxury called “They Don’t Know,” and there’s some pretty explicit lyrics on the song such as “When I be up in that p*ssy I be calling you my bitch…” What made you go that more explicit, street direction with this release given that most of your fans know you from your R&B work?
But the fans also know me for working on Long Live A$AP and they also know from French Montana’s “Ain’t Worried About Nothin’,” “Ball” by T.I. and they also know me from “These Hoes Be Acting Up.” There are a lot of different records out here that speak to different core audiences. I get love in every ‘hood everywhere. And that’s not because I’m some gangsta killer. It’s just that that side of me is also true to who I am. When I walk into KOD (Miami’s King Of Diamonds Gentleman Club), they roll out the red carpet. They fuck with me. Now the content I’m putting out may be a little bit harsh, but it’s real to me. And the songs on this EP also have substance. If I have to use that language to get my point across for you to truly understand me I’m not afraid of that.
So you are not worried about offending your female audience?
No…it’s interesting to see. The feedback I’ve been getting has been amazing, and believe it or not, mostly women are the ones that are fans of the record. With some of the aggressive content, it’s just there, man. I wrote “Heart Attack” on which I said, “I never knew love would hurt this fucking bad.” That’s a lyric in the song and the reason why I used that lyric was in order for you to understand what I meant. Sometimes you have to say fuck.
That’s quite a philosophy, huh?
Well, sometimes you have to say motherfucker, bitch, pussy…it’s about emotion. I’m not going to be using this language the rest of my career. And I’m not doing this for shock factor. This is how I felt when I was making the record. I believe in being true to the music.
There’s another song on the EP where you are giving actual shout-outs to strippers and using their stage names. Are you just aiming for that strip club anthem?
I’m really known in that world. Every girl I named knows me. They have seen me bust down $20,000 over the years. That’s a part of what makes me and a part of a lot of the mistakes I’ve made in my life. This is just part of my story, but I made sure to be very positive when I’m speaking about those women. I’m cool with all these girls. I’m not trying to make a strip club anthem. I’m just trying to make music that’s true.
“Everybody’s Girl” is a very unfiltered song about the prototypical party girl that a lot of guys seem to fall for, at times, much to their detriment. Was this written out of your personal experiences?
Absolutely, man. That song is us holding a mirror up to ourselves. Even last night there was a fight at Bamboo…some guys got into it and I found out it was over a young lady who a lot of people I know are familiar with…let’s just say that. And what happens is guys become emotionally attached to these women, but they have to remember that not all girls are not everybody’s girl, but some girls are everybody’s. That’s the choice that some of these women made. They are not bad people. If you are dumb enough to kill over someone that is not really yours to begin with you deserve to be in jail.
So you are not pushing the bad girl stereotype?
No. You hear somebody on record say, “Oh, she’s a freak, she’s a slut, hoe,” but what do you mean? There’s another side to it. I’m breaking it down for you. I go to L.A. to party and I know how much it cost to travel and party and to get to the club. And then I will see some girls there and the next night I’m in Miami and I see the same girls [laughs]. Then I go to New York and I see the same girls there. And I’m like, “How do they do that?” This is everybody’s girl. They are with this rapper, this producer or this athlete. But at the end of the record, I spell it out: I’m not mad at shorty.
Being that this EP is a return to your rap roots how has that transition been?
It’s just like riding a bike. You wobble a little bit. The rhymes are basic at first and then you keep doing it and you learn how to pop a little willy. And next thing you know you are popping a willy down the street. I just did a record last night with Action Bronson and he was like, “Yo, you went in on this.” To hear that from him, who is a real MC, that’s crazy.
That’s a shocking pairing. Action is such an east coast, ‘90s throwback hip hop dude.
It means a lot to me. I’m a big fan of his and a lot of people wouldn’t even expect me to pick him to be on my album Turn The Lights On, but that shows how much respect I have for the game and the craft. I respect hip-hop that much. He’s not just going to get on a record with me just because I’m Rico Love. I also have a record with Curren$y…he’s going to be on my album. Kevin Gates, Fat Joe, there’s a lot of people on the album that I respect. I played it for Pusha T and he really enjoyed it. We are going to do something. Hip hop is something I’m enjoying again. Who knows how far I can take it?